MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. --
Local leaders and executives got a taste of what it’s like to be a Marine when they visited the base June 2.
The day-long event, called the Marine Corps Business Executive Forum, hosted 28 local, city, county and state leaders and showed them various aspects of Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Ga. by involving and educating the community leaders.
The day began for the business executives with a bus ride from the front gate to the Base Conference Center. Along the way they learned the history of the Marine Corps and the various battles Marines have fought from the beginning to present day.
Unbeknownst to them, as they arrived at the parking lot of the conference center, was a surprise to kick-start their day of learning and training the Marine Corps way.
Within seconds of the bus stopping in the parking lot, an imposing figure leaped up the bus stairs and began barking orders to the group of community leaders.
“The first and last words out of your mouth will be sir. Do you understand me?” said John Richard, management and program analyst, Base Operations and Civilian Training Branch, Operations and Training Division, MCLB Albany, who played the role of the drill instructor. He shouted for them to quickly exit the bus and get on his yellow footprints emphasizing his last order with “Now get off my bus!”
As the group quickly rushed off the bus, Richard, who was a drill instructor at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., and a retired Marine master sergeant, began indoctrinating them to what it’s like to be a Marine recruit. For approximately 10 minutes he showed them simple drill movements and gave them a realistic recruit experience as he barked orders and flustered the surprised group of community leaders.
After a brief march, the group was given the order to fall out, and Richard released the them into the conference center. There they received a series of briefings about the roles of the base and Marine Corps Logistics Command have in the local area and the larger role they play for the Marine Corps.
Once the hour-long briefing had ended, the leaders then moved to the training portion of their day. They arrived at the Bosma Skeet Range where they saw a military working dog demonstration and then received a brief about the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.
They then separated into three equal groups, and each group participated in three round-robin events. Each leader got hands on experience by shooting a Mossberg 500 pump-action shotgun, trying various Marine weapons at the Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer and participating in MCMAP training with rubber rifles which included the opportunity to battle a Marine with pugil sticks.
For Dougherty County Police Chief Don Cheek, he enjoyed the hands on involvement the Marines provided.
“This is a great way for all of us to get involved with this as a community. Particularly for a lot of the business leaders, it let’s them know what really goes on here,” Cheek added. “We’re seeing [training] in pristine conditions. The conditions that they serve in are less than desirable, and it really makes me so proud to be an American.”
Ken Greene, a local veterinarian, said that he wished he would have had this experience with the Marine Corps 30 years ago because he would have signed up based on what he saw during the training and demonstrations. “I loved it,” he said. “There is a lot going on here that people don’t see. It was a great insight into the inner-workings of the Marine Corps,” Greene said.
After the round robin events, the community leaders rested in the shade and sat down with the Marines for lunch as the Marines shared their sea stories and gave them tips on how to prepare Meals Ready to Eat.
After the brief lunch break, the group then proceeded to the backbone of the base, Maintenance Center Albany, where they viewed the various vehicles that get refurbished and repaired and viewed civilian-Marines working on the maintenance lines. They also saw a short demonstration of an Amphibious Assault Vehicle showing its land and sea capabilities in the testing pond.
The community leaders finished their day-long tour of the base by viewing the Public Private Venture for new military housing and saw how the Marine Corps provides housing for its Marine families.
“I appreciate the Marine Corps for inviting us to see their city within a city,” said Donna Gray, Albany Area Chamber of Commerce director of sales. “We all appreciate the military a little more after today.”